(This post has been corrected and combined with two other posts, to create the more complete Ukraine: The Great Game, v2.0. I am leaving it here so that links and references stand.)
Visualize tug-of-pipeline, with a whole crowd of creatures on the west, a pipeline, and a bear on the east, and all of it taking place on Ukrainian soil.
Ukraine was the origin of the Soviet national gas industry in the 1920s. Ukraine's fossil fuel economy has grown hugely since then, and Ukraine into a nexus of pipelines and a home to refineries and gas storage facilities. The pipelines cross the country, carrying fuel from east to west.
Russia, because of this, which is huge, and because of its port on the Black Sea and its agricultural productivity, not unnaturally wants to control Ukraine. The European Union, fearing dependence on Russian gas supplies, not unnaturally wants to control Ukraine. There are some fine points, which Jerome a Paris (presumably a pseudonym) spell out in Ukraine vs Russia: Tales of pipelines and dependence.
But the other point, which is not at all fine, is that Russia has twice forced genocidal famines in Ukraine, first in 1921-2 under Lenin and again in 1932-3 under Stalin. The Ukrainian people, because of this, and because of a longer history of oppression, for perfectly obvious reasons hate Russia. Former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych apparently sold out to Russia, and party because of this Yanukovych is now a hunted man.
And, where does Russia fit in? It appears that stories of emergent fascism in Ukraine are Russian disinformation (in this connection, it is perhaps useful to remember that Vladimir Putin was for many years a KGB officer.) There is a fascist faction in Ukraine but, so far, it is not in charge. When asking about fascism, however, I ask where it is that the government has chosen a group to oppress, and put the full power of the state behind that oppression. And that, of course, is Russia, with it tormenting of gays.
And yet the geopolitics will not be denied. Europe wants gas. Russia has gas. Ukraine is in the middle. It is hard for this bird to see much hope of a positive outcome for Ukraine in this.